3rd October 2008

“Despite the secular foundation of successful modern societies, radical religious fervor has reached an all-time high, and the world is waking up to the fact that belief can no longer be considered benign.”

Paul Kurtz

7 Responses to “3rd October 2008”

  1. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    The only truly “tolerant” government is a truly “secular” one.

    Theocracies have always and will always fail because only God him/her/it/???self could possibly rule one successfuly.

    Currently, and perhaps forever, theocracies around the world are only ruled “in the name of God.” And Kurtz is correct: those who claim to rule in the name of God “can no longer” – should never, will never – “be considered benign.”

    “Heaven on Earth” will be an earth without temples, churches, or mosques, though not necessarily an earth without “belief.”

  2. Terence Meaden Says:

    “Despite the secular foundation of successful modern societies, radical religious fervor has reached an all-time high, and the world is waking up to the fact that belief can no longer be considered benign.” Paul Kurtz

    Yes—and why?
    Why are we allowing this to happen?

    I was optimistic when I was young about the future of the world. I became an academic scientist and saw close at hand the rewards to humanity that the logical reasoning of science brings. The scientists around me were intellectual atheists—all of them, so far as I was aware—who wasted no time by having god-beliefs glued into their brains. Surely, as time would pass in our modern world, the foolishness of the theists would be elbowed away as the older generation died out and the uncluttered fresh brains of the next generation followed. The theists would deservedly become a minority after hundreds of years in which their leaders held so much power, and led a cruel tyranny, physical and mental.

    But no, it is not happening.
    Yes, the Anglican Church has weakened, but the influence of other religions has risen, and goes on rising. And this is because secularists with their open and fair democracies have allowed still worse religions to penetrate our society.

    Fundamentally, education is at fault. Parents and priests, rabbis and mullahs, get at the children first. Schoolteachers are encouraged by Britain’s weak curriculum to behave pathetically. Yes, teach Darwinian evolution, but for those children who arrive at school armed (if not armoured) with the crass stupidities of creationist belief, ‘let them be’. Let them ‘make up their own minds’. As if they can do so fairly, considering that they spend more time at home and church, or at synagogue or mosque, than with the best schoolteachers.

    It should be simple. When it is a matter of evolution and creationism, the former is 100% right, the latter 100% wrong. But the children are not told this, as I learnt at a school open day this week which I attended with wife, daughter and grandson.

    And when it is a matter of belief in gods or no gods, the former is 100% wrong, the latter 100% right.
    But few children are told this, the truth. Religious schools exist because there are enough parents who want them. Yet there are probably far more quiet atheists in Britain than there are churchgoers. We need more schools to be run by freethinking intellectuals—who will start producing the unbiased leaders that the country needs. Atheists of the world, start speaking up. Show us your debating skills. Now.

  3. Rhos Says:

    Terence – well said, but isn’t the time for debating over?
    The National Secular society for example are great when it comes to sound bites on religious issues in the news – but where are the rallies and the campaigns and the positive action against the increasing threat of religion into law and politics.
    The influence of religion is rising and writing blogs, the odd article in the Independent and sending scathing emails isn’t going to stop it.

  4. Terence Meaden Says:

    What is needed is a bandwagon that will roll and roll.
    A roll that will make some of the theists and most of the ‘don’t knows’ realise what suckers they have been intellectually.

    A rolling movement should be initiated by somebody, a movement that we can all join.
    But who will get it going?
    When I was younger, I could have done so. Older and I have insufficient time and much less strength.

  5. Rhos Says:

    Imagine how many agnostic/atheist people there are out there who:

  6. Rhos Says:

    allow their kids to attend a daily worship in school
    don’t realise in influence of religion on politics
    don’t realise how much of their TV licence fee is spent on religious progamming
    don’t realise religious law courts are springing up all over the place
    don’t realise how much of their council tax goes on maintaining religious buildings
    don’t realise how much the NHS spends on ‘prayer rooms’ and religious council.

    Imagine if we could rally a few hundred people and walk up to Gordon Brown and say enough is enough. Perhaps it might get these people thinking.

  7. Chris Says:

    Agreed and well said Rhos and TM. One thing we can do is support financially those organizations that will work tirelessly to stem the tide of religious encroachment into secular institutions. In America, we have the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Countries that do not have a “separations clause” in their constitutions ought to work to correct that.

    The strongest argument one can make to a theist on this is that if the government is not officially neutral on religion, then it is possible for the government to take a religious position that is at odds with your particular brand of it. An official religion would almost certainly not be yours! If you wish to protect yourself from eventual government mandates of religious ideas or practices with which your sect does not agree, the best course of action is to separate religion from the government’s sphere. So, the only way to truly protect your religion is to protect all religions. That cannot be done if the state takes a side.